Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who’d earlier predicted a 6.7 percent property tax increase in the city, now says that many factors came together to hold his proposed increase to 2 percent.
In an email to residents, he also said spending for “basic City Services” will be nearly flat, compared to this year.
Just one year ago, when we finalized the 2011 budget, we projected that another property-tax increase of 6.7 percent would be necessary for 2012, due to skyrocketing closed-pension costs and other costs. This was even after we cut spending significantly this year, when we’re eliminating around 100 full-time positions.
That projected 6.7 percent increase for next year was unacceptable to me and unsustainable to homeowners who want to stay in our city. Through working hard to keep holding the line on spending, and to reach a compromise agreement to merge two closed-pension funds that have been the source of large tax increases in recent years into the State’s professionally-run PERA retirement system, I am able to propose cutting the size of next year’s tax increase by $13 million.
He says this is a good thing:
In my view, this solution that goes a long way toward meeting the need to cut the growth of property taxes and the need to continue providing the core services that keep our streets safe and paved, our neighborhoods clean and healthy and our economy growing for the future, all of which our residents, commuters and visitors rely on at a time when we continue to be squeezed by rising costs, such as for health care, and by the Legislature’s unwillingness to balance the State’s budget sustainably.
But, he says, his 2 percent solution is just a proposal for now:
…the 2012 budget process is far from over. After I release my full budget proposal next month, the City Council will hold many hearings on it, and you should express your opinion to your Council member. There will also be public hearings on the budget later this fall, so watch your mailboxes for that information.